Thursday, September 10, 2015

Nothing like the real thing to raise the blood pressure

Friendlies are all well and good but it was obvious that real competition had started up again - especially from the 9 yellow cards I dished out over 2 games on Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday I reffed a cracking 3-3 draw between Div One teams. It was a hard game but exciting and I enjoyed being up with play much more often, having shed almost 30 kilos (fouir and a half stone).

It saddened me when, as an away team player shook my hand at the end of the game, one of his teammates shouted: "you're not going to shake his hand are you".
The away team had been 3-1 up and conceded a penalty when one of their players tripped an opponent a yard inside the area. Then the equaliser for the home team came when an attacker broke through and was brought down by the goalkeeper. He quickly got to his feet and tapped the ball into the empty net. I was pleased that I'd played the advantage and held back on the whistle, but I came in for some stick from the away team. "What do you want? A penalty and a red card?" I asked.
I had reffed these two same teams at the fag end of last season when there was nothing to play for. It was a cinch, with no pressure.
But it was clear from the outset that the two teams both wanted to win. That was reflected in the football but also in the behaviour of the players, which was not too good. I carded several and used all the tricks in the book to get players to calm down, including calling both captains over for a warning chat - something I only do very rarely - but not much helped.
Most of the dissent came from midfielders who were clearly trying to influence me and who were battling for domination of the middle of the 3G pitch.
I did find there was very little dissent against individual decisions in and around the penalty area, mainly because I was up with play for a change.
Ground covered - 7.7 kilometres
So Sunday morning saw me somewhat stiff-legged in the countryside around Maidstone for my introduction to the Maidstone and Mid-Kent Sunday League.
The standard was clearly below what I had reffed on Saturday and the game was one-sided. One very obvious difference between the Saturday and Sunday leagues was that the Sunday league players were up for a fight if they felt wronged.
The game was all quiet until about the 70th minute, when the temperature suddenly rose quickly and I found myself pulling players apart. It was mostly handbags, however, and no real harm was done, so I kept the red card in my pocket.
The legs held out - just - and I'm looking forward to this weekend's two games, even if doing two matches means a couple of hours work on the laptop filling in disciplinary forms and match reports.
Ground covered - 7.5 kilometres

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